What Should I Read Next?
I don't often get decision fatigue when it comes to what to read next because, like you, I have a healthy to-be-read (TBR) pile with a number of books in the queue. Usually I can read through the titles on the spines of my TBR shelves until an unread title strikes my fancy, grab it, and head to a comfy reading spot to begin a new adventure.
This month, though?
This month I have enjoyed book after book after book, all focused on a single subject - Black History Month - the books for which I have been collecting and eagerly anticipating for months. This month, it was effortless to grab the next book in that stack and get lost in engaging stories like The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead, Jubilee by Margaret Walker, Black No More by George S. Schuyler, Red River by Lalita Tademy, or my personal favorite, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs.
Not to be outdone by my eyes, my local library supplied my ears with some excited listening, too, freeing me to get some work done without sacrificing time for my stories. In February, I was able to enjoy some awesome audiobooks like Master Slave Husband Wife by Ilyon Woo and An American Marriage by Tayari Jones.
To say I lived and breathed books dedicated to the black experience in America during February would be pretty accurate.
Now that I am finishing my last book for Black History Month I find myself struggling with decision fatigue.
What Should I Read Next?
In an effort not to give YOU decision fatigue, as well, I pared down which books from my TBR pile have been calling my name the loudest.
Which of the following 12 books from my TBR pile do YOU think I should read next?
Hester by Laurie Lico Albanese
I have wanted to read Hester since Ashley told us about it in the *Monthly Book Club last October. We were reading Nathaniel Hawthorne's The House of the Seven Gables when she discovered this Hawthorne-esque new novel, completely selling me on reading it in the process. Plus, the cover. I mean, if you are able to resist a beautiful cover, my hearty congratulations to you because I am a sucker for a beautiful one and Hester nailed it in spades.
The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware
I first discovered Ruth Ware via The Woman in Cabin 10 last fall thanks to my library and immediately fell in love with her writing style. When I spied The Death of Mrs. Westaway in the clearance section of my favorite used bookstore, I marched up to the counter with a "take my money" enthusiasm that made it all the way home and to my TBR pile - where it has resided since the holidays.
The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See
Lisa See was an author recommended to me by one of my local librarians in 2022. I read The Island of Sea Women by that same librarian's recommendation and loved it. (Want to know what I really thought? Check out my full book review here.) The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane was another of See's titles that the librarian recommended, so when I saw it on clearance, it was an easy choice to make. Here's my glitch - I have started this book twice, quickly realizing that it wasn't the right time, and now I am a little shy at starting it a third time, fearing it will end the same way and burst my librarian-blown Lisa See bubble.
Once Upon a Wardrobe by Patti Callahan
Once Upon a Wardrobe was, I believe, a Christmas gift based on a book rec from Cathy, another member of the *Monthly Book Club. I have such fond memories of reading C.S. Lewis' tales from Narnia with our children that I know I will absolutely become entrenched in the nostalgia of visiting there again via the pages of Once Upon a Wardrobe.
In Five Years by Rebecca Serle
As an enthusiastic fan of sci-fi, In Five Years scratches an itch that all the other novels in this blog do not reach. In Five Years is an alternate reality novel that travels down the rabbit hole with one woman, asking (and answering) the question, Where do you see yourself in five years? Super intriguing, right?
Hungry Hill by Daphne du Maurier
The House on the Strand.
I am eager to add another title to my du Maurier resume simply because the first two that I read were so delightful! When I saw this hardbound, library edition of Hungry Hill for sale last year, I snatched up the prize and put it in my shorter TBR pile where it has sat unmolested for months. A generational saga set in Ireland revolving around a copper mine, Hungry Hill evokes a Poldark vibe to me that I hope will continue to prove why du Maurier is such a noteworthy classic author.
Whose Names Are Unknown by Sanora Babb
I went over the moon when I read Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath, a novel that sent me spiraling for anything having to do with the Dust Bowl or the Great Depression - an obsession I know I am not yet over. Whose Names Are Unknown is a little-known novel based on the first-hand experiences of High Plains farmers during this same time period set in the Oklahoma Panhandle, which is pretty darn close to where my beloved Joad family (see The Grapes of Wrath) lived before heading to the fertile lands of Southern California.
A Separate Peace by John Knowles
Having read (for the first time) To Kill a Mockingbird with the *Monthly Book Club last May, this pretty paperback of A Separate Peace reminded me so much of my time inside the pages of Harper Lee's classic that I knew I wanted to get it, even if I didn't know when I would get around to reading it. I consider it now and again as my fingers graze the spines on my shelves, searching for my next adventure, but they have never landed solidly on Knowles' novel for a reason unknown to me.
The Little Shop of Found Things by Paula Brackston
I do not remember why I added The Little Shop of Found Things to my Amazon Wishlist, but there it was when my husband began holiday shopping for me last Christmas. This cute-covered, time-traveling book about English antiques won him over and that is how it wound up in my TBR pile, solidly reminding me every time I look at it that I will likely love it since I am an Anglophile and this one seems Outlander-esque.
A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
I have been wanting to read the Pulitzer Prize-winner (1981), A Confederacy of Dunces, since I first came across the title years ago. Since I have never seen it in the clearance section of my local used bookstore (where I buy most of my personal books; people must love their copies of it!), A Confederacy of Dunces never made its way into my TBR pile until my fellow *Monthly Book Club member, Ann, not only thoughtfully shared it with me, but curated an entire book box around it to make my experience with one of her favorites utterly unforgettable. (I am truly surrounded by the best ladies inside the *Monthly Book Club!) Since I loved The Innocents Abroad, a laugh-out-loud travelogue by Mark Twain, I assume I will enjoy this "American comic masterpiece" when I finally dive into it, as well.
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
The Joy Luck Club has all the ingredients that make me think I will savor every moment reading this book-turned-blockbuster with the added bonus that my sister, Lynda, highly recommended it when I asked for some solid Asian Lit titles. (See which other titles Lynda recommended here.) I was so happy when I found a good copy for only $2 and I know that my joy will be magnified when I finally experience why it is such a loved book for myself.
The Corinthian by Georgette Heyer
With Lynda (see above) as my guide, I was introduced to the Queen of Regency Romance via The Grand Sophy, loving it so much that I knew I wanted to offer it as a book box. Heyer was so beloved inside our *Monthly Book Club last year that I featured another Heyer novel inside this year's Blind Date With a Book Box (Check out the last two in stock here.). When I came across another of Heyer's Regency Romances at my bookstore, I knew it would be worth the clearance price tag.
What Should I Read Next?
I'd love to hear your thoughts on what I should read next, especially if you have first-hand experience with any of the titles l am currently agonizing over. Is there one that stands out to you more than the others? Is there one that you'd choose for my next book based on what I wrote? Let me know in the comments.
*Wondering about the Monthly Book Club referenced in this blog post? Learn more here.